Getting a Job in Social Media (for Bloggers!) | Tips & Tricks

a pink notebook with a gold heart and gold spiral binding lying on a bed, next to a panda pen; the words 'getting a job in social media' written in script across the picture in pink and white
I know what you're thinking; 'Fran, didn't you write that post about how badly you did at an interview? Weren't we all surprised when you got that job?'...and the answer to both is clearly, yes.
But, in the two years postgrad that it took me to get to that very bad interview, I did finally manage to get the application part right, and I know a lot of us want to break into social media and marketing, so I'm going to share what I learned, and hope you make more use of it than I did.

With the debates that have been happening in social media, lately, it can be easy to feel as though bloggers still aren't taken seriously by the marketing (or journalism) industry, and a lot of us still don't list 'blogging' on our CV, or glaze over it. The truth is, though, that blogging and running your own social media accounts to fit your blog's image - conducting yourself in a relatively professional manner online, or working to a 'theme' - seriously shows the kind of skills that those recruiters are looking for. Having that kind of hands-on practice of keeping your social presence consistent is something that can't be taught, and shows that you can adapt to your audience.

Stating the obvious, much? But hear me out: there is so much that we do as bloggers, but take for granted. Do you use SocialBlade? Check your DA rank every time it's updated? Have a basic grasp of SEO? Know how to schedule tweets, and check how successful they were? These are all skills they need! This is hands-on, real life, knowledge of analytics.
The same goes for those blog photo editing and layout skills - whether you're doing them on Photoshop or PicMonkey, most companies are glad to have someone who can edit photos quickly on their social team.

This is probably one of the most important tips I can give; as a blogger, whether you've worked with brands or just read a lot of blogs that feature campaigns, you have a lot of insight into which brands are doing it right. Those brands whose social campaigns seem to be everywhere for weeks at a time? That one event that everyone seemed to be invited to, and took over your entire Instagram feed? Those are the ones you want to make note of. Literally. Get a notebook and just jot them down whenever you can, so you have a list of references ready to go, when it comes to a trial task or an interview. It'll put you above and beyond so many other candidates, and show you have your finger on the pulse.

I am the first to admit, I never really took my LinkedIn seriously until a few months ago, but it's probably the best online tool for finding vacancies in any field, let alone social media and marketing.
The great thing about LinkedIn is that you can upload presentations, articles, blog posts, pictures, and videos of things you've worked on - whether at your day job, internship, or on your blog - and we all know visuals are a big plus when it comes to this industry.
Hosted a cool event? Post a video or some pictures! Worked with some great brands? Leave a link to the posts! It all really helps give a well-rounded idea of your achievements.

It's a bit ballsy, but it works - I know at least 5 bloggers who have tweeted or emailed brands they've worked with in the past for internships or vacancies, and have been taken on by the team. If a brand's worked with you, and has been left with a good impression, there's no reason they wouldn't at least consider you for a social role, and the same goes for PR or marketing agencies who're familiar with your work, too.  Can't hurt to try, right?
What are your top tips for using your blog to bag that job?
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Too Faced Candlelight 'Rosey Glow' | Beauty Review & Swatches

too faced candlelight rosey glow lying on a bed next to the zoeva fan brush
I consider highlighter to be one of my 'basic' products. As in, I'll do a coat of mascara, some concealer, and highlighter if I'm just running to the shops for some emergency jaffa cakes (yes, that is a real thing).
However, being super pale means that I find it really difficult to find a highlighter that...well, highlights. Besides which, I'm a sucker for sparkle, so I tend to go for the most obnoxious glittery ones I can find.
I'd been umm-ing and ahh-ing over the Too Faced Candlelight Glow in 'Rosey Glow' online for about 2 weeks when I finally came across it in a Sephora a few months ago, and was instantly captivated as I swatched it on my hand.
too faced candlelight rosey glow swatched on an arm, which sparkles and shimmers in the light
As you can (hopefully!) see in the above pictures, the Candlelight palette is a duo, and comes with a frosted champagne shade, as well as a rosy pink shade. I always opt to swirl my brush around the palette to get a bit of a warmer glow, but the champagne shade works really well as an eyebrow highlighter on its own, too.
The formula is creamy, so easily blendable, but also has some serious staying power - I never reapply, and stay sparkly all day. A word to the wise, though: it's not a subtle option, in the slightest, so if understated contouring is your kind of thing, Candlelight Glow might not be for you.
If you are a glitter-fiend/wannabe mermaid, however, go grab it, now! I've had my palette in my every day make up bag for nearly a year and it's only just hit pan, so you won't be sorry, despite the price tag. 
Too Faced Candle Light Glow in 'Rosey Glow' has an RRP of £25, and is available from Selfridges, here.
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How to Survive your First Holiday with Friends | Travel

francesca sophia, blogger, stands with friends under an archway in barcelona
A holiday with friends can be one of the best, or worst, experiences of your travelling life, depending on how you play it. Some of it's down to luck - do you ever really know someone until you've shared a hotel room with them for 10 days in the stifling heat, with crappy dance music blasting you from the bar downstairs? No, probably not.
But, there are a few sure-fire ways to get the best out of your trip, regardless, and I'm sharing them over on Sophie's blog, today, whilst she's off on her trip of a lifetime.
Head to my guest post, here, for my tips, and be sure to leave your own!
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What I Wish I'd Known as a Fresher | Student Life

what I wish I'd known at university fresher's tips freshers tips; 6 shots from Instagram. In the first, a bunch of highlighted papers and notes on a bed, in the second a shot of Canterbury Cathedral, in the third a picture of the human brain with labels, in the fourth, francesca sophia with another girl, in the fifth an outfit lying on a bed - a black silk vest, a muted silver sequin skirt, and black t-bar heels with studs, in the final picture another shot of canterbury cathedral
It's the time of year where I start to envy everyone who's making that big, scary, life-changing step; moving to university. Don't get me wrong; making the move to university was one of the scariest things I've ever done, but it was one of the best, too.
That being said, it isn't easy, by any stretch of the imagination, and it doesn't come with any kind of handbook, so I figured I'd through together a few pro-tips - things I wish I'd known, in advance!

I think I must've googled about a million 'what to take to university' lists when I first got my UCAS results, but I was never quite happy with what I found - so I wrote my own, here - my 'What to Take to University' list, which is still my most-read post, to date (shameless self-plugging aside).

I know, it's a cliché, but clichés tend to be clichés for a reason. If you're moving into halls with a bunch of strangers, they're in the same position, and you can use that uncertainty to build bridges.
Unpack with your bedroom door open and your favourite band playing. Have an excursion to the city centre to get that one vital item everyone happened to forget (doorstops...they sold out in my university town within the first three days).

Not just the mandatory events, but the naff ones like the 'treasure hunt' that your academic department thinks will teach you the weird room system (it won't, you'll get lost on the way to everything); you can bond with the people on your course about how you'd rather be doing anything else.

This is sometimes billed as 'Freshers' Fair - Day Two' or something similar, but it's actually a showcase of the societies that are available on campus. A lot of people skip this, but it's a great way to hear about the societies you never would've known existed (gaming society, anyone? Forensic science society? Acapella group?).
My one main tip, though? Try not to sign up for anything just because you've started chatting to the society president, or they're giving away freebies and you feel guilty not signing up to their mailing list. You'll end up being emailed a hundred times a week, all the way into third year.

Whilst drinking is likely to help you deal with that annoying housemate who just won't take out the bins (I'm not still bitter about mine, clearly), you don't have to be the kind of person who goes out every night to make friends; some of the best nights I had at uni were just sitting in our flat, watching movies, baking, or cooking communal dinner.

Being a student was one of the best times of my life...and one of the hardest. There'll be sleepless nights, bad flatmates (and accommodation), a few breakdowns, and the odd hangover, but it'll all be worth it in the end. 

What's the one thing you wish you'd known whilst at university?
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That's So All In One Protective Dry Oil Spray & After Sun | Review

that's so all in one protective dry oil spray and aftersun, in bright yellow and pink packaging, lying on a bed
The weather in London has been gorgeous lately; proper sunshine - the kind that makes you wish you didn't have a 9-6 job.
Naturally, all I've wanted to do is go for evening walks, visit cute little beer gardens, and lounge at roof top bars with a glass of wine. It would have usually been a bit of a struggle, with my fella being the world's palest human (the kind that burns on a cloudy day. In Cornwall), and me having Mediterranean genes that pretty much mean I never burn. Between us, we've had to spend a fortune on varying SPFs and varying levels of after sun. It's made me question our entire relationship, to be honest.

That's when I found out about That's So 'Pure Sun' All in One SPF & After Sun (*). The premise of the SPF is that one bottle will provide you with anywhere between 20 and 50 SPF; simply spray one layer for 20 SPF, wait 3 minutes, spray a second layer for 30 SPF, then wait another 3 minutes and spray again for 50 SPF protection. Sounds too good to be true, right? But here's the thing: it works. I sprayed my fella with three layers, and did one myself, and it was perfect. I caught a nice summer glow, he stayed Caspar-pale. We were impressed.
It's a dry oil spray, which means it wasn't sticky, and it didn't leave any suspicious-looking stains on our clothes. It goes on pretty much transparent, too, which is exactly what I look for in my SPF, personally.

My favourite out of the two products, however, has to be the after sun - I'm really picky about my after sun skincare, because I hate peeling (who doesn't), and get so overheated if I use anything too thick. The 'That's So' after sun, however, is cooling, sprays on in a thin layer, and feels so incredibly moisturising. It contains Aloe Vera, as well as Inhiphase, which are both anti-inflammatory and soothing, and honestly, I couldn't recommend it more.

The price points are a little steep, for me, so I might not repurchase the sun cream, depending on what the London weather does, but the aftersun is safely in my online basket, awaiting payday.
The That's So 'Pure Sun' All in One SPF & After Sun (*) are available on the 'That's So' website, and both retail for £18.95.
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My Deaf Boyfriend | Life

I apologise for the crude-sounding title of this post, but...well, it's what it's about, so...

I had a blog post planned for today. It was about eyeliner. And then I got a message, at about 12.45pm, that turned my blood ice cold, and made me pack my things frantically, telling my boss I'd had an 'emergency' and twirling out of my office as fast as my tiny little legs would carry me.

The message that had my heart pounding? It was from my boyfriend, telling me that his speech processor wasn't working; that he could no longer hear.

George and I have been together for nearly 8 months, but we've known eachother for slightly over 10. It took him two weeks to tell me he was profoundly deaf; that, without the cochlear implant he'd had fitted at three years old, and the speech processor that attached to it, he was unable to hear anything at all.
cochlear implant scar and speech processor
The speech processor George has to wear, which magnetically connects to the cochlear implant in his head, and his scar from the surgery.
 George had just celebrated his third birthday when he contracted Tuberculous Meningitis; he spent his third Christmas in a coma. When he eventually awoke, his father noticed he wasn't reacting to loud sounds, it emerged quite quickly that the TB Meningitis had effected his inner ear, leaving him deaf. A few months later, he had the cochlear surgery, during which an electronic device is placed inside the ear, replacing the function of the inner ear. The speech processor connects to this, on the surface, which means George is able to 'hear' through his left ear, whilst wearing his processor.

Luckily, George was able to have this operation on the NHS, through the Nottingham Auditory Implant Programme; The Ear Foundation was able to provide support for his parents, as well as accommodation during the procedure. He has a wonderful family, and although it was hard, he has grown into a wonderful, understanding, kind, and balanced man. He is lucky, and I am lucky to know him.
George doesn't know sign language (although I keep bugging him to come and learn it with me), but he can lip read. When there's a problem with any of his tech, we make do with enunciation and the occasional text message. We go to the cinema; Genesis in East London has excellent acoustic, and often has subtitled screenings. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have subtitled options on all of their shows. We meet friends, go out, have fun. He's come to gigs with me. 
I hold his hand in the dark, because he has no balance. He spills things. Occasionally, the tech malfunctions. If I'm annoying him, he can whip his speech processor off, and ignore me. We had to download the transcript of the Serial podcast so he could read it, instead of listening. 
It is not easy, but through the work of so many organisations, it is possible.
Donate to the Ear Foundation, here.
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Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade: Worth the Hype? | Review

an open pot of anastasia beverly hills dipbrow pomade in 'taupe' lies next to the anastasia beverly hills dipbrow pomade brush and an eyebrow comb
Is it just me, or is blogger 'hype' not much of a thing, any more? When I first started blogging, everyone had their 'Holy Grail' products, and it seemed that four of five of them would be on everyone's lists. Nowadays, there seems to be a lot more diversity in the products that get reviewed - we're spoiled for choice.

Anyway, Anastasia Beverly Hills' Dip Brow Pomade is one of the few products that has had a bit of a hype surrounding it - all over YouTube, Instagram, and the Blogosphere, and with a dozen copycat versions, at least. Obviously, as a big believer in good eyebrows being a necessity for, well, everyone, I had to pick some up when I was in New York.

Worth the hype? Yes. It's waterproof, but blendable, and unlike a lot of the cheaper copycats, it's not at all drying. No flaky eyebrows here, thanks. It's also available in twelve shades, which means it's pretty easy to get one that matches your own (the one pictured here is Auburn).
And yes, £15 seems a little steep for such a tiny pot, but I've used mine daily, for 9 months, and I'm not even halfway through the pot.

One word of advice: I've used it both with and without the Anastasia Beverly Hills Duo Brush, and you're going to want to invest in one. It's soft, but dense, which makes blending so much easier, and gives a really natural final look.

Go, buy. Now. 
Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow Pomade is available from Beauty Bay, RRP £15.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Duo Brush is available from Cult Beauty, RRP £14.
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Zara Martin x Skinny Dip Kitty Headphones | New In

Zara Martin x Skinny Dip Kitty Headphones in their packaging on a floral duvet
Every once in a while, I come across items online and immediately scream 'I must have it' (much to my family/friends' annoyance), and these Skinny Dip x Zara Martin headphones from the 'Wild' collection were exactly a case of that. They're cat ears. In rose gold. How could I not want them?
Zara Martin x Skinny Dip Kitty Headphones out of their packaging and on a floral bedspread
Just to clarify, I am the furthest thing from an audio nerd - the whole 'Beats' thing flew right over my head, and I could not even start to tell you why Sennheiser are better than Bose - but the sound quality of these has blown me away. Whilst I did initially nab these for the style, alone, I have been so impressed with them that I've started recommending all Skinnydip headphones to anyone who'll listen. 
You probably couldn't take them to the studio, but you can look pretty awesome on the underground.
SkinnyDip x Zara Martin headphones are available on their website, here, or instore from Urban Outfitters, RRP £35. You can browse the rest of the SkinnyDip headphone range here.
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NYX Lingerie Lipstick | Review & Swatches

NYX Lingerie Review and Swatches; lace detail, bedtime flirt, and exotic packaging
I think we all know by now, I am obsessed with a good matte lipstick. And, as anyone following me on my Instagram knows, I finally bragged that I'd found my new obsession in the form of a new shade from NYX. You're welcome in advance.
The premise of the NYX 'Lingerie' lipsticks are that they're all somewhere on the 'nude' colour scale (some shades are less 'nude' than others), and that they all have a super matte finish. There are twelve shades available in the range, and I'm quite convinced there's something for everyone.
NYX Lingerie Review and Swatches; lace detail, bedtime flirt, and exotic swatches on an arm
I grabbed three shades from the range, after umming and ahhing over them all for about 3 days:
Hands down, my favourite shade of the three - it's a 'my lips, but better' shade, for me, and the slight pink undertones add a subtle splash of colour. I'd go for this one if you're quite pale and want a truly 'nude' lip.
If 'Lace Detail' is 'my lips, but better', then 'Bedtime Flirt' is 'my lips, but browner'. It's got a really warm cinnamon undertone to it, which is great for anyone who has a warm skin tone - I'd really recommend this shade for anyone who's wanting to try incorporating something a little darker into their everyday lip kit.
This has fast replaced the red lip as my 'going out' look for 'summer' (as I write this, there's a tiny monsoon happening outside my window). It's a rich plum shade, perfect for a bold lip, and the one I mentioned over on Instagram a few weeks ago. Again, it's got a slightly brown undertone to it, so it's great for warmer skin tones.
NYX Lingerie Review and Swatches; lace detail, bedtime flirt, and exotic applicatiors pictured
Like most matte lip products, the NYX Lingerie lipsticks can leave your lips feeling a little dry, but it doesn't, in my experience, do that hugely unflattering thing of clinging to any dry patches on your lips (I have more than I'd care to admit).As for the applicator, it's a slightly 'flatter' version of the normal doe-foot applicator, and it actually makes evenly applying the colour without a brush about 100 times easier. I honestly love the formula and application so much, that I might just buy all the shades (slowly, of course, I'm not made of money).
The NYX Lingerie Lipsticks retail for £6.50, and can be bought from Boots online, here.
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Quick & Easy Glitter Bowl | DIY

a gold glitter bowl sitting on a soft white blanket; text reads easy do it yourself glitter bowl
You know the feeling; it's late at night (or, if you're me, early in the morning), you're lying in bed and should be sleeping, but instead, you're browsing Pinterest. You come across one of those fun DIY graphics, and you think 'ooh I could do that'. Then sleep hits, and - oh no! - you haven't pinned the DIY. You search and search, and you just can't spot it anywhere...but the creativity bug is raring to go, so you grab some supplies, and you give it a try, anyway.
a selection of supplies for a DIY glitter bowl, including matte mod podge, multicoloured balloons, a wide brush, a tub of gold glitter, and a silver foil takeaway tray
Anyway, this glitter bowl was one of these late-night discoveries, and I already had everything I needed to do it, at home (is it weird that I always have a stash of balloons for craft-related stuff?).
All you'll need to give this a go is some Mod Podge, some medium balloons, a thick paint brush, and some chunky glitter. It's optional, but I also use these silver takeaway containers to mix things in, whenever I'm crafting, because it makes clean-up a lot easier.
a silver foil take away tray filled with mod podge and gold glitter; unmixeda silver foil take away tray filled with mod podge and gold glitter; mixed
It's a super simple process, from here; whip about two tablespoon's worth (that's a guess-timation, don't go ruining your silverwear) of glue with about half the amount of glitter. Depending on the glitter you're using, you might need to adjust this slightly, but the goal is to get the consistency like the photo above.
a red balloon blown up, sitting in a red bowl, with a tray of gold glitter and mod podge mixed, sitting next to ita red balloon blown up, sitting in a red bowl, covered partially in a mixture of gold glitter and mod podge
Once you've got the consistency right, you want to blow up your balloon to about the size you'd like your bowl to be, and then sit it in an old mixing or serving bowl to hold it still. Then you simply have to paint the balloon with your glue mixture; don't worry too much about keeping it even the whole way round, it's part of the charm of this DIY that it's not quite even.
a DIY homemade gold glitter bowl sitting on a soft white blanket
Sit the balloon to one side to dry (preferably overnight), and when the glue's gone completely clear, break out your nearest needle/safety pin and pop your balloon. 
And there you go! Your very own glittery balloon bowl. I recommend sitting it on your desk and filling it with sweets, because who doesn't work better with a delicious incentive? 
Will you be giving this fun DIY a go? And what's your favourite Pinterest-inspired project?
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Nuxe Crème Fraiche 24hr Moisturising Mask | Beauty Review

nuxe crème fraiche 24hr moisturising mask next to its original box, sitting on a white desk
Am I the only one who gets intensely dry skin, year-round? It used to be a problem I only had in winter, but whether my impending 24th birthday (ew, let's not mention that again, I'm still a student, at heart) is the reason for my sudden change of skin type, or just a sign I need to up my skincare game, the whole Deadpool look isn't really for me.

After intense research (read: checking reviews on Selfridges and Feel Unique), I finally decided that the Nuxe Crème Fraiche 24hr Moisturising Mask might just be the thing to save my skin - and I haven't looked back since.
The formula of this mask is super thick, but not at all sticky, and it's so easy to use; you simply apply a thick layer over your face and neck, leave it to sink in for 10-15 minutes, and then massage the remaining mixture in (or, if you're going out, you can remove the residue with a tissue). And that's it. It's that easy.

Now, I don't know if I'd go as far as to say it really provides 24 hour moisture, but it does definitely keep your skin hydrated for a good few hours, and using this just before bed guarantees you'll wake up with silky smooth, dewy skin. And, as I mentioned in my 'Stop Getting Sick' post, this is a great soothing mask for anyone who's feeling a little run down, too - the smell of fresh jasmine is one of the most relaxing to exist, after all.

Has it cleared up my dry skin? Yes, surprisingly. I wasn't necessarily expecting long-term effects, but having used this twice a week since January, I really do feel like my skin is more hydrated, and I couldn't recommend this more.
Nuxe Creme Fraiche 24hr Moisturising Mask retails for £18.50, here.
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How Not to Get the Job | Work

I had an interview, yesterday. Let me set the scene; the kind of job I've been dreaming about in the two years since I left university (how has it been two years?!). Am interviewer who had bent over backwards to accomodate my schedule (I'd been finishing out my notice period for the job I've just left). I'd done my research. I'd come up with at least three interesting ideas for ways to move the company forward. The interview was only 20 minutes from my house, and I got there fifteen minutes early. It should've been perfect, right? Oh, so wrong.
a pink notebook with a gold heart and gold spiral binding lying on a bed, next to a panda pen; the words 'getting a job in social media' written in script across the picture in pink and white
My Top 5 Tips to Not Get the Job:
1. Get to your interview at least fifteen minutes early.
Don't go inside, straight away, though. Stand outside and continue the furious text fight you're having, just so you'll look too scared to go in if anyone's watching you on CCTV.

2. Research the role.
...and then promptly forget to mention all of the relevant information you have stored away. I worked with the company that was a template (and had the same co-founders) as the one I interviewed for yesterday, as a blogger. Did I mention that? Of course not. 

3. Be prepared for anything.
Except, you know, if your interviewer asks you about what your friends would say about you. Then you should probably freak out and say the first thing that comes to your mind. I referred to myself as 'uptight'. I have never, ever, been accused of being uptight in my life. An hour before my interview, I was still sitting at home in my underwear. 

4. Ask intelligent questions. 
The highlight of my interview was definitely 'well obviously I want to know if you're going to give me the job?' *awkward laughs on both sides of the terribly chic Shoreditch perspex table*. Did I ask something intelligent, about targets? What about my CV made him feel like I'd be a good fit for the brand? No, of course not. Don't be silly.

5. Come with suggestions.
Is the company you're interviewing for looking to grow? Branch out? Refine their customer-base? Reach out to influencers? You should have some ideas for how they could do that. No, don't share them. Just keep them awkwardly in your head and seem as if you've thought of nothing. 

Suffice to say, I'm not expecting a call back. 
What's the best interview tip you've ever had? And what's the worst interview you've ever had?
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My New Favourite Shoes | New In

ultragirl twin bow pumps by Melissa
I don't know if I've mentioned it (read: I've mentioned it every single day for at least two years), but right now I work in retail. And not just any retail, I'm a lingerie fitter. I fit people into bras, for a living. Which means I spend about 8 hours per day running around on shopfloors, up and down stairs, and in and out of stock rooms (think a shoe shop, but...lacier). Needless to say, comfortable, durable shoes are the most important investment for this kind of job.
Enter: UltraGirl Twin Bow pumps by Melissa. 
close up of the ultragirl twin bow pumps by Melissa
Okay, so they're obviously gorgeous, but they're also the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. They have built-in padding on the bed of the shoe, meaning you're pretty much walking on clouds, and they're scented. Yep, you read that right. The insole of the shoe smells like bubblegum, so you get an occasional whiff whilst you're dashing around. 
ultragirl twin bow pumps by Melissa
They're made by the brand that makes Vivienne Westwood's Melissa pumps, so they've got that same plastic/rubber texture, which I know makes them sound like the last thing you'd want to wear for the summer, but honestly, with the tiny little peep-toe detail and the extra padding, they are genuinely no hotter than any other shoe. Plus, they're way prettier.  
You can view the full range online at their official UK retailer, NonNon, here.
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Bourjois City Radiance | Review

I'm forever trying to find the 'perfect base'; being the most pale Greek/Italian hybrid in history means that finding a foundation that doesn't leave me looking like I've been Tango'd is always a struggle. I have to say though, Bourjois has always been one of the brands that I feel offers a better range of shades for the 'pale girl', so when I spotted their latest offering on my lunch break - 'City Radiance foundation' - I practically dashed for the palest shade ('Rose Ivory'), and could barely contain my glee as I headed back to work. 

City Radiance has SPF 30, and is sold as leaving the skin looking radiant and keeping it hydrated for 24 hours; Bourjois also claims it has an 'anti-pollution formula', that stops Carbon adhering to the skin - perfect for city life, right?

As always, I applied this with my go-to foundation brush, the Real Techniques Buffing Brush, and my first thought was 'oh my gosh, this stuff smells amazing!' - not something I'd ever really cared about with a foundation, but a nice bonus, anyway - my second thought was how smoothly the product applied. I needed a tiny amount for my face, because it's super blendable. In terms of coverage, it definitely takes the redness out of your skin, but if you're like me and have occasional flair ups of bad skin, you're still going to need a good concealer. However, the durability was what most impressed me about this foundation; I wore it on an 8.5 hour shift at work, and despite having super-shiny skin, naturally, this stayed flawless, and I didn't need to reapply or touch up my powder once, and my skin looked really healthy, and much brighter than usual, throughout the day!

Would I recommend it? Yes, if you fall into one of the (slightly limited) shades that Bourjois offer, go for it!

Bourjois City Radiance foundation retails for £7.99 and can be found in most Boots stores, or on their website, here.
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Stop Getting Sick | Self Care

a bottle of lucozade, nuxe moisturising mask, tiger balm, vicks first defence, bath and body works pocketbac, a sephora eye mask, and some ginger ale, lying on a bed
I've worked in retail for nearly two years, now - that's two years of close quarters with hundreds of people from all over the world, day in, day out (you think I'm exaggerating, but I work on Oxford Street, the busiest shopping location in London). Obviously, germs are a fun bonus for this kind of wild lifestyle, and picking up every weird cold, bug, and virus going is inevitable...but, there are some ways you can prevent yourself from being bed-bound for three days.

Invest in one that smells nice, so you don't constantly smell like the inside of a doctor's surgery, and you've won half the battle. Ideally, you should use it at least every time you eat or drink anything, but forcing your nearest and dearest to use some every time they cough or sneeze is always a good idea, too. My favourite is the PocketBac range from Bath & Body Works, but The Body Shop do a great range, here in the UK.
So, the worst has happened; you can feel your throat getting scratchy, your sinuses are swollen, that last cough sounded a touch too 'chesty'. There's still hope! My assistant manager at work recommended First Defence by Vicks, which is this handy little nasal spray (eww, I know), which kills the virus setting up camp in your body before it has a chance to do any damage. Sounds too good to be true, but it actually works (unless your boyfriend nearly chokes on it...but that's a story for a different day). Pair it with some Tiger Balm before bed (think Vapour Rub, with a nicer smell), and you just might wake up cold and flu free.

So, despite all your best efforts, you're ill. Keep using the nasal spray and balm, grab yourself some Night Nurse, and keep hydrated! Drink as much water as you can stomach, but if you need something with a bit of flavour, sugary drinks like Lucozade can be a good idea, especially when you're struggling to eat. And, if you're feeling sick, ginger beer or ginger ale should settle your stomach nicely. Aside from that, my personal recommendation would be chain-watching a new series on Netflix, or playing video games that involve lots of mindless shooting - good for blowing off steam.

So, you've moped for a few days, wrapped up in your duvet with tissues never too far away. And then, blissfully, your sense of smell returns, along with your appetite. You can keep your eyes open for more than an hour without the need to have a disco nap...everything seems to be going well. And then you catch sight of yourself in the mirror - bloodshot eyes, dry skin, post-flu-puffy face - it's all just one big hot mess. Find yourself a good moisturising face mask - my favourite is Nuxe's 24-hour Soothing mask - and an even better eye mask (like Sephora's lotus eye mask), and you'll be as good as new by the time you have to venture out in public, I promise.
What are your top tips for avoiding (or getting over) viruses?
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6 Things People with Depression Wish You Knew | Mental Health

muted black and gold background with white capitalised text, reading '6 things people with depression wish you knew'
In a room full of crowded people. Late at night. During the working day. Sometimes, it just hits us, for no reason at all...but that doesn't mean we don't appreciate you checking up on us, spending time with us, and just generally being around. 

If someone doesn't respond to our message in the group chat? We said something stupid. If we don't get included in plans with friends? No one wants us around. That time our drink got spiked and we threw up in the back of a cab? How could we possibly be so stupid?
No, it doesn't make sense, and yes, basic logic would deduce a million reasons why we weren't to blame, but we'll still find a way. We're not looking for attention, we're genuinely worried we've done something wrong. 

Sometimes, we just need to not talk to anyone, to have a little time alone. No, it's not always healthy to isolate ourselves, but sometimes it's the only way to cope. The best invitation in the world, be it our best friend's birthday, an interview, or the wedding of the century, probably won't pull us out of our cocoon. It's nothing personal, and it doesn't mean we don't care about you. Honestly.

'Are you sure it's okay?', 'how about this bit?', 'really?': we're not fishing for compliments, but if we did well, we really need to know. And we probably need to check, at least 5 times. Whether you're a colleague, a friend, our SO, whether you have to explain a thousand times that we haven't screwed up, why you love us, or why you keep us around...just be patient. 

Depression can do weird things to our perception. We'll bottle things that bother us up for months - things that we maybe know are irrational - and eventually, it gets too much, and we explode. That comment you made 6 weeks ago, that thing you didn't invite us to, last month? It all bubbles to the surface, and our hurt feelings all come out, at once. It's not because we've been building a case against you, or harbouring resentment, we just try to tell ourselves it's all in our head, sometimes, and it doesn't always work. We know it's wrong, but it's just how we cope.

We wish we could. We know it hurts you, too. We know we don't always handle things well, and that we don't have the healthiest of coping mechanisms. If we could just 'get over it', we would. 
Do you have depression, or know someone who does? What do you wish you could tell people about it?
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Charlotte Tilbury Colour-Coded Eyeshadows | Beauty Review

Charlotte Tilbury Colour-Coded Eyeshadows in glamour muse, golden goddess, and vintage vamp, lying open on a dresser, next to an urban decay eyeshadow brush
I've been raving about how much of a Charlotte Tilbury convert I am on my Twitter for a couple of months, now, and in last night's #bbloggers chat, I couldn't stop raving about the colour-coded eyeshadow quads...which is around about the time I realised a review was long overdue.
CHARLOTTE TILBURY COLOUR-CODED EYESHADOW in The Vintage Vamp, on a dresser, next to a Smashbox duo eyeshadow brush
This was the first Charlotte Tilbury product I ever bought, and it really kick-started my obsession; maybe I'm just a giant blogger stereotype, but anything rose gold has me ready to declare my undying love, and this was no exception; it's a nice twist on a classic smoky eye, without being so pink that it makes you look like you just need a good night's sleep. 
CHARLOTTE TILBURY COLOUR-CODED EYESHADOW in The Glamour Muse, next to two closed Colour-Coded Eyeshadow palettes on a dresser; a brief glimpse of Smashbox's duo eyeshadow brush is just visible in the bottom right corner
From my first palette to my newest; this gorgeous purple-hued palette is the latest purchase I've made, and it's probably one of the best I've made, too. I was a little intimidated by the vivid tones in this selection when I first saw it - I like quite subtle shades, on my eyes (one too many run-ins with the old Barry M 'Dazzle Dusts' when I was younger - not cute!) - but having swatched it in-store, it's a lot more subtle than it looks, and super wearable. Think smoky eye, with a purple overlay.
CHARLOTTE TILBURY COLOUR-CODED EYESHADOWS in The Golden Goddess with two closed Charlotte Tilbury Colour Coded Eyeshadows stacked adjacent on a dresser; the smashbox eyeshadow brush is visible in the bottom right corner
Last, but by no means least, my absolute favourite eyeshadow quad, possibly ever. Doesn't sound like much of a claim, until you see how many I actually own...but trust me, there are a lot of contenders. 'The Golden Goddess' lives up to its name, perfectly. It's not that bright, brassy gold you used to pair with your electric blue mascara during secondary school summers (just me? Oh, that's awkward), it's deep gold, verging-on-brown, but with the gorgeous shimmer that'll take you from day to night, when you need it to. I can't recommend this one, enough.

I can't recommend the Charlotte Tilbury colour-coded eyeshadow quads enough. They're obscenely long-lasting (I fell asleep with my eye make up still on after the work Christmas party, and I was still channeling 'vintage vamp' at 7am the next day...whoops), and have really buildable shades. Plus, the back of the palette reminds you exactly what each shade is for (prime/enhance/smoke/pop), which is great if you're going from work to drinks or dancing. Yes, they're pricey. Very pricey, when you're living that #brokelife, like I am, but honestly, I'd rather have one or two of these than all of my Naked palettes, combined.
Charlotte Tilbury Colour-Coded Eyeshadow Quads retail for £38, and can be purchased here.
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